This King crab legs recipe is sponsored by Copper River Seafoods, a brand I love. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Stem and Spoon!
King crab legs are an exquisite treat and quite possibly the best way to elevate any special dinner. This king crab legs recipe is surprisingly simple to prepare and results in sweet, juicy crab meat with a rich beurre blanc sauce that carries a tinge of heat from the added sriracha. The flavor of the Alaska king crab legs still shines through, and the spicy beurre blanc is a bit more special than melted butter. Plate these king crab legs alongside the rich beurre blanc and lots of fresh lemon wedges for one incredible meal.
Alaska king crab legs are ideal for holidays, date nights and all other special occasions that call for a little something extra. This dish is exactly that.
The flavor of the king crab legs is unmatched and because of this, it doesn't require a whole lot of creativity or preparation to enjoy them. If you've never prepped king crab legs at home, that may sound counterintuitive.
why this king crab legs recipe works
My experience with seafood and talking with others about seafood is that it can be quite intimidating to purchase and prepare, especially if you don't cook seafood often. I think that's why it's commonly viewed as a splurge reserved for restaurants and seasoned cooks who "know what they're doing."
Fortunately, preparing Alaska king crab is super simple, as is the case when you have a good recipe and high-quality seafood.
about Alaska king crab
That's why I like Copper River Seafoods. The Alaska-based company is made up of a small family of Alaska fishermen who harvest the highest-quality seafood from Alaska's frigid waters, pull it onto fishing boats and process and ship it from the state to your front door. How cool is that?
From king crab to halibut to Copper River salmon, there's really nothing like their wild Alaska seafood and once you get a taste, you'd completely agree!
I've shared a few recipes featuring Copper River Seafoods (like this brown butter halibut and citrus salmon with creme fraiche) and I'm thrilled to partner with them again to bring you this wild Alaskan king crab legs recipe.
Alaska king crab is one of the most sought-after types of crab in the culinary world. The meat is firm, subtly sweet and juicy.
This recipe features two varieties of their king crab legs for sale- red king crab and golden king crab. Both are extra large legs and claws that are pre-cooked. (Did you know that all crab legs for sale are pre-cooked unless you're buying live crab? It was new info to me!). That means these frozen king crab legs only require a quick re-heating before you can enjoy them.
how to cook frozen king crab legs
The most common way to cook frozen king crab legs is to boil them in a large pot of water until they're reheated. However, I personally prefer steaming thawed crab legs because it's a more gentle heating method. It also keeps excess water from seeping into the meat and is a bit more forgiving.
During recipe testing, I also tried baking the crab legs and found that the shells become noticeably harder to cut or crack open. Since Alaska king crab shells are extra strong to begin with, I decided my favorite way to cook them is in a steamer.
This really simple method requires a large pot of boiling water and a steamer insert or steamer basket. The cook time is just a few minutes. And, opposed to boiling or baking crab legs, it is harder to overcook the crab with this method.
Simply place the thawed crab legs into the steamer insert, cover with a lid, and steam for 6-7 minutes. Remove the crab legs and you're done!
It's nearly fool-proof and an easy way to get perfect results. There's no excess water to muddle the natural flavors of the crab. And you won't end up with rubbery, overcooked crab meat or an extra tough shell.
I will say that when it comes to the various methods available, there are such minor differences between all of them. Everyone has their favorite and at the end of the day, all are good options that will result in tasty Alaskan king crab.
watch the video
Just a few simple ingredients is all it takes to prepare these tasty Alaskan king crab legs and a spicy beurre blanc to go with them.
You will need:
- Copper River Seafoods Alaska king crab legs, thawed
- dry white wine
- white wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- shallots, chopped small
- salt and pepper
- heavy whipping cream
- butter, cut into cubes
- fresh lemon wedges for serving
For this king crab legs recipe, you'll also need a large pot with a steamer basket/steamer insert as well as sharp kitchen shears.
King crabs have extra long legs so you'll need to cut them down to a smaller size in order to fit them into the steam basket. Sharp kitchen shears are the easiest way to cut the crab shells away from the crab meat once they're cooked. And I suggest having a few extra pairs around for serving, too!
Here's a quick look at how to cook frozen king crab legs with my favorite method, steaming. The moist heat gently warms the king crab meat in just a few minutes.
This king crab legs recipe calls for four pounds of crab, which is usually enough for about 4-5 servings. However, you can follow it regardless of how many pounds of king crab you have. Just keep in mind that you may need to cook them in batches.
Be sure to view the full recipe card at the bottom of the page for all of the details, including ingredient amounts and a step-by-step guide.
The first step is to thaw the frozen legs. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight. You can also place the crab legs on a sheet pan and run cold kitchen water over them for 20-30 minutes to thaw. (See "frequently asked questions" if you want to steam frozen crab legs.)
Use kitchen shears to cut the giant crab legs into smaller sections that will fit inside your steamer basket. It's easiest to cut them at a joint.
Add cold water to a large pot (there should be at least an inch of water at the bottom of a large stockpot) and heat the water over high heat until it boils. Place crab legs into the steamer basket and reduce the stovetop to medium-high heat.
Set the steamer insert into the pot and cover it with a lid. Steam for 6-7 minutes, then transfer the legs to a plate and cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Steam the second batch.
While the crab steams, combine the white wine, vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, sriracha and salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat to let the mixture reduce.
Whisk in the heavy cream and cubes of butter over low heat until the beurre blanc is smooth. Serve the steamed king crab legs with the spicy beurre blanc and fresh lemon wedges.
recipe tips for the best results
- The jumbo crab legs are easier to enjoy and pull the meat out of when they're cut to about 3-5 inch sections. Cut them at a joint when possible.
- The spicy beurre blanc is a rich, buttery and creamy sauce that goes so well with chunks of meaty crab! However, it is optional. Crab meat is delicious dipped in melted garlic butter or clarified butter. You really can't go wrong however you choose to serve it!
- King crab legs can be sharp and spiky and some are pokier than others. You can protect your hands while cutting the crab legs by gripping the crab legs with a kitchen towel.
- The spicy beurre blanc is a versatile sauce that goes well with other proteins, including halibut, cod and even chicken!
- Serve the crab legs with extra kitchen shears or a crab cracker for each of your guests.
- Store leftover steamed king crab legs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can remove the meat first, if you'd like.
frequently asked questions
- How long to steam frozen crab legs? You can steam the king crab legs without thawing them first, but it will take a bit more time. Also, frozen crab legs are harder to cut into smaller sections. Steam the frozen king crab legs for about 15-18 minutes or until the meat is heated through.
- How to know when the crab legs are done? Since the frozen crab legs are pre-cooked, you only need to steam the legs until they're hot. This usually takes just a few minutes if they are thawed. Keep in mind, the bright orange color of the shell won't change since they were previously cooked.
The fresh flavor of these Alaska crab legs paired with the rich and spicy beurre blanc is a delicious combo that makes the perfect centerpiece for any holiday table!
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King Crab Legs with Spicy Beurre Blanc
Steamed Alaska king crab legs with a rich and spicy beurre blanc is a luxurious meal that is perfect for any special occasion. This king crab legs recipe is exquisite and surprisingly simple to prepare.
- 4 pounds Copper River Seafoods Alaska king crab legs and claws , thawed
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (approx. ½ a lemon, juiced)
- 1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup butter, cut into cubes
- lemon wedges for serving
- Use sharp kitchen shears to cut the king crab legs into smaller sections that will easily fit into the steamer insert or steamer basket.
- Add water to a large pot that fits a steamer insert/ basket. There should be at least 1-2 inches of water at the bottom. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.
- Place the crab legs into the steamer basket and cover the pot with the lid. (Depending on the size of your pot/steamer, you may need to cook the legs in two batches). Steam the crab legs for 6-7 minutes or until they are hot throughout.
- Remove the legs and place them on a plate. Steam the second batch, if needed. Cover the crab legs with aluminum foil while you prepare the beurre blanc.
- In a small saucepan, add the white wine, vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, sriracha, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium and cook the mixture for 8-10 minutes or until it has reduced to about ½ cup. Remove from heat.
- Gently whisk in the cream and cubes of butter until the sauce is thick and well-combined.
- Serve the warm crab legs with the beurre blanc and fresh lemon wedges.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 164mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 26g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know!